With Liverpool progressing very well in regards to transfers in the last week or so, with the signing of Charlie Adam and the imminent arrival of Stewart Downing at the club, my thoughts have gone back to our first signing of the summer, Jordan Henderson. It maybe an odd thing to say, but I don’t expect Jordan to be a nailed on starter for the Reds next season, even though he cost in the region of £16million.
Especially with the arrival of Downing and Adam at the club, the options that Kenny Dalglish now has in midfield seem to be endless. If we take the 3 likely formations to be utilised next season, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 and 3-5-2, it is hard to work out how Henderson will fit in currently to the starting eleven.
In a 4-2-3-1 formation, the most likely variation will see Gerrard playing in his favoured attacking midfield role with Lucas in the right sided defensive midfield role and Charlie Adam in the left of centre role. With Carroll playing as a lone striker, Suarez and Stewart Downing would be favoured in either of the two wing positions, with Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez possibly other options. Henderson has real competition to stake his claim to either place, in central midfield where Adam, Gerrard and perhaps Meireles or Aquilani will give Kenny Dalglish a selection headache, or on the right wing, with Downing, Kuyt, Suarez and Maxi.
In a 4-4-2 formation, Henderson does have a greater chance of playing but not necessarily in central midfield. Although it is uncertain who out of Aquilani, Meireles and Joe Cole will be staying, even with one of them continuing in the Reds shirt, it means Henderson will have to compete with 5 other players (Lucas, Spearing, Gerrard, Adam, Meireles?) for just two spots. On the right wing however, where he has played for Sunderland too, he will most probably only have Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez to worry about, which is still some pretty tough competition.
In a 3-5-2 formation, he would have a better chance of playing in a central midfield role but I think most would have Gerrard, Lucas and Adam perhaps ahead of him in the pecking order currently. Henderson could not play as a wing back in this formation so again he is left with a big challenge for a regular first team place.
Certainly this is not something to complain about. Who would have thought the Reds would be able to keep a £16million player on the bench this time last year? Squad depth and an exciting 21 year old with a massive future ahead of him, waiting in the wings, along with all the other youngsters at the club, make it a very exciting time to be a Liverpool fan indeed.
Article is courtesy of David Tully at Live4Liverpool